Do Squirrels Eat Safflower Seeds?

Squirrels are fascinating creatures known for their acrobatic abilities and their voracious appetite for nuts and seeds. Many people enjoy observing squirrels and feeding them in their backyards, but when it comes to choosing the right food, it’s important to consider their dietary preferences and nutritional needs. In this article, we’ll explore the question: Do squirrels eat safflower seeds?

Safflower seeds are a type of birdseed that is popular among backyard birdwatchers. They are small, white seeds that are rich in oil and have a mild flavor. While safflower seeds are commonly offered to birds, some people wonder if squirrels also enjoy this type of food.

What are safflower seeds?

Safflower seeds are the seeds of the safflower plant, which is native to the Middle East and Africa. These seeds are cultivated for various purposes, including cooking oil production, birdseed, and as a dietary supplement for livestock. Safflower seeds are known for their high oil content and are often used as an alternative to sunflower seeds in bird feeders.

The diet of squirrels

Squirrels are omnivores and have a diverse diet that includes nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and even insects. They have a natural preference for high-fat and high-calorie foods, which provide them with the energy they need to survive. Squirrels are opportunistic feeders and will consume whatever food sources are available to them.

Can squirrels eat safflower seeds?

The short answer is yes, squirrels can eat safflower seeds. However, it’s important to note that squirrels may not be as attracted to safflower seeds as they are to other types of nuts and seeds. Safflower seeds have a mild flavor and may not be as appealing to squirrels compared to other options.

Nutritional value of safflower seeds

Safflower seeds are a good source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. They also contain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, magnesium, and phosphorus. While safflower seeds offer some nutritional benefits, it’s worth noting that squirrels have specific dietary requirements, and a varied diet is essential for their overall health.

Attracting squirrels with safflower seeds

If you want to attract squirrels to your backyard and offer them safflower seeds, there are a few things you can do to make the seeds more enticing. Mixing safflower seeds with other types of nuts and seeds that squirrels enjoy, such as sunflower seeds or peanuts, can increase their appeal. Additionally, providing a squirrel-friendly feeding station or placing the seeds in a location where squirrels frequent can help attract them.

Benefits of feeding squirrels safflower seeds

Feeding squirrels safflower seeds can have several benefits. Firstly, safflower seeds are a nutritious food source that can supplement the squirrels’ diet, providing them with essential fats, protein, and other nutrients. Additionally, offering safflower seeds can help diversify the food options available to squirrels in your area, promoting a healthier and more balanced diet.

Risks and considerations

While safflower seeds can be a suitable food option for squirrels, there are some risks and considerations to keep in mind.

Allergies and sensitivities

Just like humans, squirrels can have allergies or sensitivities to certain foods. It’s possible that some squirrels may not tolerate safflower seeds well or may even be allergic to them. If you notice any adverse reactions or signs of discomfort in squirrels after consuming safflower seeds, it’s best to discontinue offering them as a food source.

Potential health issues

Feeding squirrels a diet that is too high in fat can lead to health issues, such as obesity or fatty liver disease. While safflower seeds contain healthy fats, it’s important to offer them in moderation and as part of a varied diet. It’s recommended to consult local wildlife experts or veterinarians for specific guidance on feeding squirrels in your region.

Tips for feeding squirrels safflower seeds

If you decide to feed squirrels safflower seeds, here are a few tips to ensure their well-being:

Providing a squirrel-friendly feeding station

Setting up a dedicated squirrel feeding station can help prevent conflicts with other wildlife or birds. Place the safflower seeds in a secure and accessible location, such as a squirrel feeder or platform, away from predators.

Mixing safflower seeds with other foods

To increase the appeal of safflower seeds to squirrels, mix them with other foods that they enjoy. Combining safflower seeds with peanuts, sunflower seeds, or dried fruits can create a more enticing and nutritious blend.

Other seeds and nuts preferred by squirrels

While safflower seeds can be an option, there are several other seeds and nuts that squirrels tend to prefer. Some of the favorites include acorns, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds. Offering a variety of nuts and seeds can help attract squirrels and provide them with a diverse diet.


1. Can squirrels eat raw safflower seeds?

Yes, squirrels can eat raw safflower seeds. However, as mentioned earlier, safflower seeds may not be as appealing to squirrels compared to other nuts and seeds.

2. Are safflower seeds harmful to squirrels?

Safflower seeds are generally not harmful to squirrels when offered in moderation. However, it’s important to monitor the squirrels’ health and behavior to ensure they tolerate the seeds well.

3. How often should I feed squirrels safflower seeds?

Feeding squirrels safflower seeds a few times a week is typically sufficient. Remember to provide a varied diet to promote their overall well-being.

4. Can squirrels shell safflower seeds?

Squirrels are capable of shelling safflower seeds, but their preference may vary. Some squirrels may find it easier to consume safflower seeds without shelling, while others may crack the shells open to access the inner seed.

5. Should I stop feeding squirrels safflower seeds if they don’t eat them?

If squirrels show little interest in safflower seeds, it’s best to provide other food options that they prefer. Offering a variety of nuts and seeds can help attract squirrels and cater to their dietary preferences.


In conclusion, squirrels can eat safflower seeds, although their preference may vary. Safflower seeds can be a nutritious addition to their diet, but it’s important to offer them in moderation and as part of a varied food selection. If you decide to feed squirrels safflower seeds, make sure to observe their behavior and health, and adjust their diet accordingly. Remember to consult with local wildlife experts or veterinarians for specific recommendations based on your region.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.